Writing Competitions for Children & Teenagers


If your child is a budding author, or simply loves to scribble down stories or poems in their spare time, children's writing competitions are a fantastic way to encourage their love of creative writing.

Entering a competition can give young writers a real sense of purpose and ambition and many offer mentoring or feedback, as well as prizes. 

Here is our round up of the writing competitions for kids and teenagers to watch out for.

atom learning young author award

Atom Learning has launched a new creative writing award for ages 7-11. There are two categories, ages 7-9 and and 10-11. It is open to any child in the UK and there are some amazing prizes to be won, including a trip to Disneyland Paris for a family of four, a stack of novels, an illustrated book cover for the winning child's story, designed by a professional illustrator and £2500 for the winning author's school, to name a few. 

You can find out more here and the theme this year is "a day that changed the world". (please note you do not need to be subscribed to Atom to enter)


500 Words has been the biggest and most popular writing competition for young people in the UK. Run for 11 years by BBC Radio 2 and Chris Evans, it was supported by HRH the Duchess of Cornwall with a stellar author judging panel, including Malorie Blackman and Frank Cottrell-Boyce.

The BBC writing competition concluded in 2020 with the largest number of entries yet, but Chris Evans has vowed to keep the competition going with support from Oxford University Press and The Reading Agency. It is run for children in the UK aged 5-13 years old, who submit an original story no more than 500 words long.

A one-off special Black Lives Matter 500 Words competition ran in 2020 and but it's gone very quiet since then and it looks as if this competition is no longer running. Check out the 500 words website for updates.


The BBC Young Writers' Award is run with Cambridge University and is open to all young people in the UK aged 14-18, who submit a story of up to 1,000 words.

The award has now closed for 2021 and the Shortlist will be announced on Radio 1 in September. The five shortlisted writers will have their stories published in an anthology, and read aloud on the radio, as well as being invited to attend a creative writing workshop and receiving one-to-one mentoring with an author.

Reader's digest 100 Word story competition

To celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Reader's Digest, there's a 100 word story competition launching this year (2022) with prizes worth up to £1,000. There are two categories for children, one for 12-18 years and another for Under 12s. Your stories should be original, unpublished and exactly 100 words- not a word shorter or longer. You can find out more details here. Entries must be received by 5pm on 1st May 2022.


The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award is run by The Poetry Society and claims to be the the biggest poetry competition in the world.

It is open to anyone aged 11-17 and the deadline for 2021 is 31st July. The poems can be any theme and length and winners receive a range of prizes, from mentoring to a residential writing course and books.


Young Writers run national writing competitions for nurseries, primary and secondary schools.

They have separate competitions for poetry and creative writing and target their competitions at schools, offering lesson plans, resources and competitions plans.

The competitions are split into the various school stages: EYFS, KS1, KS2 and KS 3/4 and all have a theme. The closing date for the latest round of competitions is Friday 28th May 2021.

Teachers, parents or young writers themselves can enter via the website.

Writing Competitions for Children & Teenagers

Some other great young writers' competitions to look out for include:

Author of Tomorrow - part of the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize, open for all ages up to 21.

The Telegraph Writing Competition - now closed for 2021, this was a short story competition on the theme of "lockdown" judged by Telegraph columnists including Charlie Higson and Bryony Gordon.

Scottish Book Trust  50 Word Fiction - a monthly competition open to entries in English, Gaelic or Scots

UNESCO World Tales Short Story Competition - this competition was open to young writers from all over the globe. It is now closed for 2020, with the winners to be announced this Spring.

Merky Books New Writers' Prize - #Merky Books is a publishing imprint launched by Stormzy and Penguin Random House UK, specifically for underrepresented voices. Dates for the 2021 New Writers' Prize are yet to be announced.

Christopher Fielden Young Writers' Challenge - this challenge is ongoing and any young writer can submit a work of up to 100 words.

And these are open to schools and home educators:

The Writing Bee

First News School Newspaper of the Year

Keep an eye out too for regional competitions in your area, lots of literary festivals, universities and community libraries run fantastic local creative writing competitions.

Writing Competitions for Children & Teenagers
our favourite books on creative writing for children
Writing Competitions for Children & Teenagers

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